Japan's MUFG eyes London growth despite Brexit

Geoff Coley

Geoff Coley, New York-based international business head of MUFG Securities – the new name for Mitsubishi UFJ Securities as of July 4 – said the derivatives business was the “backbone” of the bank’s London operation, and that he also wanted to grow its capital markets business and give it a “meaningful seat at the table” in Europe’s debt capital markets.

MUFG Securities’ international business operates across the primary and secondary markets in capital markets, credit, rates, equities and structured products. It has about 1,080 staff. More than half of those are in the Emea offices in London and Dubai, with the Americas team in New York and the Asia staff in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Coley spoke with Financial News on a visit to London in the week following the UK’s EU referendum. He said the bank would not make any “knee-jerk” reactions in terms of moving roles from London to other cities, adding that London will “always be an important hub”.

If there came a time at which the bank needs “certain front-office personnel” in particular countries to do business in the EU, Coley said, “we’ll cross that bridge”.

Coley joined the bank in 2014 from Gleacher & Co. Earlier in his career he spent more than 20 years with Citi, most recently as co-head of global fixed-income, currencies and commodities. He said his plan for MUFG Securities in the past two years had been to develop what was a “relatively nascent” investment banking and underwriting business during a period in which big investment banks were “weakened – but still powerful and capable”.

International expansion has included the launch of a leveraged capital-markets business in the US earlier in 2016, headed by Grant Moyer, a former Goldman Sachs banker who joined the bank in May.

Hires in London have included Sarwat Faruqui, Citigroup’s head of corporate bond syndicate, who starts as MUFG Securities’ head of syndicate for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and co-head of international syndicate in August. Paul Lavelle, who spent five years at RBS, where he was head of Emea relationship management, came on board in April as international head of the institutional client group.

Coley said: “We’re in the early innings of developing what we think will be a very powerful global platform. We’re going to grow that yet further.”

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